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A renewed and poetic re-imagination on the symbiotic exchange between humanity and nature underscores the world of London-based artist Lena C. Emery. Born in Germany, Emery grew up between Asia and Europe and studied Fine Arts on a part-scholarship at Parsons Paris.
The British Journal of Photography referenced Emery’s book Rie as one of the most exciting projects of 2016. “When I first picked up Rie, I immediately knew this wasn’t an ordinary book of nudes. This openness creates pictures much like a breath of fresh air.”– Todd Hido
Emery’s book Yuka & The Forest (exhibited within the Prix du Livre d’Auteur in Arles, printed on 100% recycled paper) draws on Japan’s powerful cultural connection to forests and donated 30% of profits to the WWF. “Emery’s images show a place that is some distance from the entrenched view of humans as subject and the world as an object, and offer a renewed perception of symbiosis.”– Kris Kozlowski Moore
Emery was selected Decade of Change Award Winner in 2021, a global environmental initiative by the BJP conceived to harness the universal power of the arts to galvanise climate action.
In an effort to emphasise the necessity for well-regulated, well-enforced marine protected areas, Emery set out to create a portfolio of 100+ underwater photographs in 2023, documenting the uniquely rich habitats of the Wakatobi National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve with one of the most biodiverse marine ecosystems in the world.
EMERY: “As a teenager I came across the works of naturalist, artist and author Joy Adamson in my grandmothers bookshelf. At 18, inspired by Adamson’s commitment to wildlife conservation I moved to a 3 mile squared remote island in Southeast Sulawesi where my father had been part of establishing the Wakatobi Collaborative Reef Conservation Program and Dive Resort. Created as a pilot project in 1997, at the time without internet or phone reception and only a boat that came every two weeks to drop off divers and supplies, it turned 3.7 miles (6km) of privately sponsored reef sanctuaries into an effective no-fishing zone.
By 2002, the success of ongoing conservation efforts created a precedent for proactive private sector and human rights based conservation and literally changed the map, when the Indonesian government expanded the area to over 1,390,000 hectares, creating what is known today as the Wakatobi National Park. After over two decades, Wakatobi remains one of the largest privately funded marine reserves and was added to the list of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in 2012, recognising it as one of the most biodiverse marine habitats with the highest number of reef and fish species in the world. Our oceans are the largest ecosystem on Earth, they regulate our climate and generate most of the oxygen we breathe. We must support their protection.”
Emery leads a plant-based lifestyle and campaigns for stricter animal welfare policies across industries.
Atmos, British Vogue, Dazed, Gestalten, M Le Monde, Pleasure Garden, Pop, Purple, Rizzoli, System, The Gentlewoman, The Plant, Wallpaper, WSJ
Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art London, The Nest Summit New York, Asama International Photo Festival Miyota, Museum of Climate Change Hong Kong, Claire de Rouen London
Nominations & Awards
Nominated for the FOAM Paul Huf Award 2015, UK Winners of Flash Forward Award 2016, Winner Decade of Change Award 2021
Calvin Klein, Chanel, Chloe, Dior, Helmut Lang, Hermes, Lemaire, Stella McCartney, Tiffany & Co